In November 2017, Theresia Bilola participated in the Bonn conference on climate change together with over 600 other United Nations climate change volunteers. Now she is working to establish cooperation with the Finnish Ministry of Environment and the City of Turku to improve people’s awareness and knowledge of climate change.

Theresia Bilola

  • Born in Cameroon, West Africa.
  • Doctor of Social Sciences (2015, University of Turku).
  • Subject of the thesis: management and strategic planning in educational institutions, especially regarding the environment.
  • UN Volunteer for Climate Change. Took part in the Bonn climate conference in November 2017.
  • Works to improve people’s awareness of climate change and means to prevent it.
  • Finnish citizen, resident of Turku.

A Finnish citizen born in Cameroon, West Africa, Theresia Bilola has obtained a Master’s degree in universities of Oslo (Norway), Aveiro (Portugal) and Tampere (Finland) before finishing her doctoral thesis in the University of Turku in 2015. Besides family, a significant factor in deciding to stay in Finland was nature.

- I was drawn by Finland’s simplicity, predictability and safeness – a country where nature preservation co-exists with development. This was a pleasant surprise because I grew up knowing that when development steps in, trees and nature go out the back door, Bilola says.

Besides research and writing on issues of strategic planning in education management – the subject of her doctoral thesis – Bilola has picked up an alternative research, policy and strategy development interest in climate change. This also contributed to her current engagement as UN Volunteer for Climate Change and the summit in Bonn. Of the 4 000 applicants from all over the world who applied only 650 were selected.

Spreading awareness of climate change – and the means to tackle it

For Bilola, the Bonn conference raised plenty of ideas about how to work against climate change in Finland and her home city of Turku. Her next aim is to proceed with an initiative to increase education and awareness about climate change.

I intend to use my experience to contribute my bit to preserving Finland for future generations.

In a recent survey made by the Finnish broadcasting company YLE, almost 60 percent of respondents consider climate change to be a very serious problem. Percentage in the 2012 survey was 23. Bilola’s vision as a climate change advocate is to organize information and sensitization sessions that create awareness on the effects of climate change and how every individual can contribute to tackling it.

Bilola’s position as a United Nations Volunteer on Climate Change grants her access to professional training opportunities as well as a vast network of various climate change initiatives, which she hopes the Finnish government, Finnish Ministry of Environment and the City of Turku will also utilize.

- I intend to use my experience to contribute my bit to preserving Finland for future generations, Bilola summarizes.